Regions with significant populations
(Oklahoma, California, Mississippi, Louisiana,
Protestantism, traditional beliefs
Related ethnic groups
Cherokee, Chickasaw, Muscogee (Creek), and
The Choctaw are a Native American people
from the Southeastern United
States (Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana).
They are of the Muskogean linguistic group.
The word Choctaw (alternatively spelt as
Chahta, Chactas, Chato, Tchakta, and
Chocktaw) may derive from the Castilian
word chato, meaning flat; however, noted an-
thropologist John Swanton suggested that the
name was derived from a Choctaw leader.
Henry Halbert, a historian, suggests that
their name is derived from the Choctaw
phrase "Hacha hatak" (river people). The
Choctaw were a part of the Mississippian cul-
ture which was located throughout the Mis-
sissippi River valley. The early Spanish ex-
plorers of the 16th century encountered their
ancestors. In the 19th century, Choctaws
were known as one of the "Five Civilized
Tribes" because they had adopted and integ-
rated numerous cultural and technological
practices of their European American coloni-
al neighbors. The Choctaw Nation of Ok-
lahoma and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw
Indians are the two primary Choctaw associ-
ations, although smaller Choctaw groups are
located in Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.
During the American Revolution, most
Choctaws supported the Thirteen Colonies’
bid for independence from the British Crown.
The Choctaws and the United States agreed
to nine treaties. The last three treaties
(Treaty of Doak’s Stand, Washington City,
and Dancing Rabbit) were designed to dera-
cinate most Choctaws west of the Mississippi
River. U.S. President Andrew Jackson made
Choctaw exiles a model of Indian removal.
They were the first Native Americans to
march the Trail of Tears. The Choctaws were
exiled (to the area now called Oklahoma) be-
cause the U.S. desi